Staying Fully Stocked For The 100 Days Of Summer
BY JOE ROSSI, NCASEF EXECUTIVE VICE CHAIR
The Hundred Days of Summer are upon us, and this time around we have to be very diligent about keeping our store shelves full of the products our customers need and want. The pandemic has really done a number on us by creating a tsunami of supply chain problems and product shortages, leaving us scrambling for whatever products we can find. As we all know, empty spaces on our shelves give our customers the wrong impression and will send them to our competitors.
We have to find opportunities to bring in other products to fill the gaps in our inventory. SEI has suspended the penalties for falling out of the Recommended Vendor Purchase Requirement, which gives us some wiggle room to bring in more non-recommended items and products from local vendors. We should make good use of that.
A great place to find new products are local FOA trade shows. We should attend as many as we can—our FOA’s trade show, our neighboring FOA’s trade show, or both—to find those items that will help drive sales during the Hundred Days of Summer. NCASEF is holding its annual convention and trade show August 7-10 at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in National Harbor, Maryland, and I highly recommend you attend. Not only for the seminars and fun activities we have planned for the event, but the trade show promises to be our biggest yet with record high vendor participation. That means loads of new products and great deals to choose from to keep our store shelves well stocked.
We also need to make sure we’re adjusting our I’s so we’re not running out of product during a heat wave or during successive days of high sales. This past Memorial Day weekend my store was very busy, which was great, but if we didn’t make those adjustments to the I we could have very easily been out of product in the middle of a three-day weekend. So it’s important to be mindful of the I so we don’t miss those selling opportunities by having empty spaces on our shelves because we couldn’t refill the products.
It’s not only selling opportunities we have to watch for, but minimizing risk, also. Are we looking at our old assortments, making sure we’re in code? We don’t want to have out-of-date products on our shelves because municipalities are coming to our stores trying to find any way to generate revenue at our expense. Let’s not give them any satisfaction. Take time to go through those center of the store items and make sure all out of code products have been written off and replaced.
Even though the pandemic has thrown us a curve ball with these supply chain problems and shortages of our more popular products, our vendors are introducing new items to help fill the holes on our shelves. We also now have room to try products that we may not have had the opportunity to try before thanks to the suspension of the Recommended Vendor Purchase Requirement penalty. We should reach out to our regular vendors for their latest products, and take a closer look at new vendors. And don’t forget to attend your local trade show and the NCASEF convention for more product choices.
I wish you all a very productive and safe summer-selling season.